Business services sector adds jobs as unemployment rate holds steady

Excavator construction site

Washington state’s unemployment rate remains at 5.8 percent for the sixth month in a row, despite adding 8,700 jobs from April to May, according to the state’s Employment Security Department (ESD).

The state released the seasonally adjusted, preliminary jobs estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics on Wednesday as part of its May Monthly Employment Report.

“Even though we added more than 101,000 jobs over the last year, Washington’s unemployment rate is holding steady,” said ESD’s state economist, Paul Turek, in a release. “As I’ve been saying for the last several months, that’s not necessarily bad for our economy as we have been seeing more and more people enter the labor market.”

This month’s report shows the greatest job growth in professional & business services, with 2,300 new jobs. Education and health services added 2,000 jobs, while government and construction both added 1,600 jobs.

The number of jobs in leisure and hospitality decreased by 1,400, with 900 of them occurring in arts, entertainment and recreation.


The state added 101,700 new jobs from May 2015 to May 2016, not seasonally adjusted. The private sector grew by 3.5 percent or 89,700 jobs, and the public sector increased by 2.1 percent, adding 12,000 jobs.

From May 2015 to May 2016, 11 of 13 major industries saw growth while the number of jobs in the mining and logging industries dropped by 200 and manufacturing lost 2,800 jobs.

The top five industry sectors with the largest employment gains year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted, were:

  • Professional & business services (+18,8 000 jobs)
  • Construction (+14,000 jobs)
  • Education and health services (+13,700 jobs)
  • Government (+12,000 jobs)
  • Retail trade (+11,700 jobs)

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